TRIBUTES have been paid to a 'passionate and dedicated' steelworker and union representative who has been at the forefront of the campaign to save Newport's Orb Electrical Steels plant.

Paul Horton died aged 53 on New Year's Day, just a day after he left the Orb plant, where he had worked since leaving school, having taken voluntary redundancy.

As a representative at Orb for the Community trade union, Mr Horton spent years campaigning for workers' rights.

His daughter, Beccy Morgan, said he was "a hard working family man" who "fought to stop the closure of Orb Steel Works until his very last breath".

When Orb owners Tata Steel announced plans to close the Newport plant last September, Mr Horton was a vocal critic of the decision.

In October, he featured prominently in a Save Our Steel march through the city's streets.

Before that march, he and other Orb workers were interviewed by the South Wales Argus, and Mr Horton spoke passionately about the Orb's historical ties with the city and its people, as well as his hopes that the plant could be rescued for future generations of steelworkers.


The Orb works was mothballed last month, and Ms Morgan said her father had been given the opportunity to work at another Tata plant, but instead chose to take redundancy.

Sadly, he died on New Year's Day, on what was the first day of his retirement.

The Community union said it is "extremely shocked and saddened" by Mr Horton's death ,and general secretary Roy Rickhuss paid a fulsome tribute to a man he said he was 'proud to have called a friend'.

“The union has lost a true stalwart who has been taken far too soon," said Mr Rickhuss.

"Paul was a champion for his works and his colleagues, and he was a key voice for our Orb campaign, always willing and able to articulate the views of the workforce, be that in the media, with management, or with politicians.

"He was passionate about his works and the steel industry, and a dedicated servant of the union. This truly is a tragic loss and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

"I am proud to have called him a friend over many years. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.”

Mr Horton was born in Panteg to parents Diana and Keith Horton, and has a sister, Julie.

He attended Caerleon Comprehensive School and started his career at the Orb on leaving school aged 17, starting off on the Youth Training Scheme.

Over the years, his work moved from the shop floor to management level, and he left the Orb as an assistant section manager.

"Since leaving school Tata steel was his life and the only thing he ever knew," said Ms Morgan.

She added that her father had always remained hopeful that the Orb works would open its doors again in the future.